The two 3-inch-by-1-inch glass chips held the unfathomable amount of genetic information contained in 16 human genomes. On Thursday, a technician placed the chips — called flow cells — in a new genetic sequencing machine at the Genome Institute at Washington University and closed the door.
In just three days, the task will be complete.
It’s mind-boggling given that it took scientists working all over the world more than 10 years and about $1 billion to first sequence the human genome, a feat declared officially complete in 2003.
This ultra-fast sequencing machine, which hit the market last year, is only sold in groups of 10 — a system capable of sequencing 18,000 human genomes a year at just $1,000 to $1,500 per genome.